Moving out on your own for the first time is a big step. It can also be a confusing time, with many questions such as: what documentation is required, how much money will I need and will I need renters insurance? Don’t worry, we can shine a light on what you need to do to ensure your first rental experience goes as smoothly as possible.
Above all, your lease is the most important document to wrap your head around. It defines how long you’ll rent the property, how much you will pay and your basic responsibilities as a tenant. Once a lease is signed, you’re legally bound to everything set out in it for the period of your agreement. So you must read and understand it completely. If you breach your conditions, your landlord will be within their rights to issue you with notices and eventually evict you.
Firstly, work out a budget that works for you and research the areas you can afford a property. Of course, as a first-time renter, you’re likely to be renting a modest property, but depending on location, costs can still be high. Remember that on top of rent, you will also need to budget for gas, electricity, broadband and TV license as well as your other personal expenses.
It’s not all about responsibility when you rent. As a tenant, you’re entitled to several basic rights. For example, you have a right to privacy, which means your landlord cannot show up at the property unannounced. Your landlord also can’t force you to pay for things like general repairs and maintenance. Also if something you own is broken or damaged, rather than part of the property itself, you should check whether this is covered by your contents insurance, also known as renter’s insurance.
Your landlord is also responsible for keeping the property in good condition for you to live in. As a tenant, you are responsible for keeping the rental property clean and undamaged. If you discover any repairs which need doing or have any concerns, contact your landlord immediately. Don’t be afraid to report repairs to your landlord, as it’s much easier and cheaper for them to fix an issue when you first notice it rather than when the issue becomes a big problem.
When moving in you should be provided with an inventory of everything that's provided with the property including furniture, carpets, curtains, appliances, crockery and cutlery. Notify your landlord if you disagree with anything on the inventory as it will affect how much of your deposit you get back at the end of the tenancy. A good tip is to take photos, ideally dated and labelled, of any items that are broken or damaged and to notify the landlord. Keep receipts for any items you've replaced, correspondence about repairs and copies of your bills. Most disputes about deposits are over the condition of the property at the end of the tenancy. Make sure you give the property a thorough clean before you move out and leave it in the same condition as the day you arrived.
If you follow these tips, your life as a new renter will be stress free. And to ensure further peace of mind explore the option of contents insurance for renters. See renters insurance options provided by AIG.